In a landscape of profound beauty we find stories that are utterly surprising, funny, poignant, revealing, and sometimes tragic. On the 150th anniversary of the Yosemite Grant Act, the California Historical Society presents Yosemite: A Storied Landscape. This exhibition—which commemorates passage of the act that dedicated the "Yo-semite Valley" and the area of the Mariposa Big Tree Grove "for public use, resort, and recreation . . . inalienable for all time"—reveals a human history of Yosemite as complex and diverse as our State itself.
The exhibition—a catalog of tales—highlights the visual stories of artists such as Chiura Obata and the photographers Carleton Watkins and Ansel Adams, who introduced Yosemite to the world; the folktales of the Miwok, whose rich and layered society called the park home; and compelling anecdotes, from the first non-native climbers to scale Half Dome to the African American stagecoach driver who shuttled two American Presidents through the park. Through artifacts, imagery, and words, these stories restore freshness, energy, and intimacy to a California and American icon bathed in myth.
Between February 20 and December 4, 1915, millions of visitors to San Francisco enjoyed the fantastically designed and illuminated Panama–Pacific International Exposition (PPIE), a world’s fair celebrating the completion of the Panama Canal and showcasing San Francisco’s recovery from the 1906 earthquake. Constructed on 635 acres along the city’s northern shore, now known as the Marina District, the PPIE dazzled fairgoers with spectacular architecture—palaces, courts, state and foreign buildings—as well as attractions, exhibitions, and nightly fireworks presentations.